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County postpones sand mine decision

Audience members wait to hear the outcome of Waupaca County Planning and Zoning Committee Meeting held on Oct. 30, regarding the Conditional Use Permit sought by Faulks Bros. to do non-metallic mining on the Iola Car Show grounds. Holly Neumann Photo

Committee seeks more information

By Holly Neumann

The Waupaca County Planning and Zoning Committee postponed reconsidering denial of a permit for the proposed sand mine in Scandinavia.

On Aug. 22, the committee voted 3-2 against granting a conditional use permit to Faulks Bros.

Construction for non-metallic mining on the Iola Car Show property, located in the town of Scandinavia, between County Trunk J and Olson Road.

“We’re here to consider a motion for reconsideration of the denial of the application,” Chair James Nygaard said.

Waupaca County’s Corporation Counsel Diane Meulemans said the central points of the decision are whether or not it’s the decision of the majority of the committee, and whether there is substantial evidence that a conditional use standard has been met by the applicant or will be met in the future.

After some discussion, committee member Cindy Hardy made a motion to postpone the decision in order to obtain more information from the applicant on time frames and hours of operation.

Attendees were only allowed to speak on items that were not on the agenda.

Following the meeting Greg Ambrosius, with the Stop Iola Mine group, expressed his concerns.

“The only reason for the delay is to ask Faulks Brothers questions on the timeline of the sand mine once the permit is approved,” he said. “If Chairman Nygaard would allow us to also speak, we would prove with substantial evidence how the permit is still not in compliance with points 1, 2 and 3 of the County Ordinance. Those three points are undeniable and yet nobody on the board asked any questions about them. Read No. 1 and prove to me how this sand mine ‘will not change the essential character of the same area such that the use will substantially impair or diminish the use, value, or enjoyment of existing or future permitted uses in the area.’”

If the Planning and Zoning Committee approves this permit, Ambrosius said they will appeal to the Waupaca County Board of Adjustment.

“We strongly believe the facts are on our side and we will show substantial evidence that this permit not only isn’t in compliance with Waupaca County Ordinance Chapter but that it can never be in compliance with the ordinance because of the location of this sand mine,” he said. “Surrounded completely by seven homes, this sand mine will definitely devalue all of our properties, impair the use of this area and greatly reduce the enjoyment of living in this rural setting.”

Ambrosius said he hopes every municipality in Waupaca County pays attention to what the committee is doing, because it could happen to them as well.

“The Township of Scandinavia unanimously denied this sand mine permit twice and had 61 pages of detail of how this permit was not in compliance with the Comprehensive Plan,” he said. “Yet the county is going to approve this permit and force the sand mine on this residential area. We believe this permit is still not in compliance with the Township’s Comprehensive Plan or with Waupaca County Ordinance Chapter, and if that is the case then Act 67 doesn’t allow them to approve the permit.”

No date was set for a future meeting.

Faulks Bros. has filed a civil case against the county and the committee on Sept. 20, petitioning the circuit court to review the Aug. 22 decision to deny the permit.

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